Disney Trip 2019

A Disney trip has been on our minds for over a year now. Every time we tried to plan a time for it, something would always come up. It ended up being a blessing in disguise, which we’ll get into later, but the point is we were finally able to book our trip and took our vacation a few weeks ago. It was just as much fun as we expected and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Let’s start with the travel. We live in Northwest Florida, so it’s about a 6-6 ½ hour drive to get to Orlando. We took our trip in the middle of May, leaving on a Thursday and returning on Monday. That was our first time traveling that far east on I10 since Hurricane Michael hit last October. The damage that was still there was heartbreaking.
When we arrived on Thursday, we didn’t do much except explore our resort (more on that later) and go over to Disney Springs. Neither of us had ever been to Disney Springs before and honestly, I was really underwhelmed by it. Maybe I’m just not that big of a Disney fanatic to appreciate it. I just thought it was kinda boring.

Friday was our first day at the parks. We didn’t have a park hopper ticket, so we spent the day only at Epcot. Our tickets were the blessing in disguise that I was talking about. Disney was having a sale for Florida residents to get a 3-day pass for $175 ($59 per day). We jumped on that since prices are about double that amount without the sale.
I love going to Epcot during their Flower & Garden Festival. It makes it so much more fun with all the sculptures and flowers to look at. We rode most of the rides while we were there and one of our favorites was Living with the Land. I had never been on that before and we both thought it was so cool to see all the plants they’re growing. This was my first time I got to see the IllumiNations fireworks (with a good view) and they were definitely my favorite of all the firework shows.

We drove ourselves to the park and learned that if you keep your receipt, you can leave and come back the same day without paying to park twice. That was very helpful because after we’d get really tired, we’d go back to the resort during the hot hours of the day to rest and go back to the park during the evening. Being mid-May when we went, the lines hadn’t gotten too crazy yet (average was about 45 minutes) and it was already extremely hot. I’m so glad we didn’t wait any longer because those two factors will definitely affect your experience.
We chose to spend Saturday at Magic Kingdom. I was worried it’d be more crowded, but the extended hours (closing at midnight) gave us more time to get everything done. Magic Kingdom is my favorite Disney park, so I knew exactly what I wanted to ride and where it was.

My two favorites are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. And of course we had to do some classics like Tomorrowland Speedway, the PeopleMover, Peter Pan’s Flight, and it’s a small world. I really wanted to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for the first time, but the line for that is ridiculous. My max wait time is around 45-50 minutes. The Seven Dwarfs line hovered around 2 hours every time we checked, with zero Fast Passes ever available.  
Sunday was our last day and we spent it at Animal Kingdom. I had only ever been to Animal Kingdom once before and didn’t really get to see much of it, so this was like a new experience for both of us. We chose Kali River Rapids (my favorite kind of ride) first so we’d have a chance to do it twice. Thank goodness we rode it in the morning because when we got in line around 3:30 with our Fast Pass, they shut it down and didn’t reopen it again.
We also had a planned Fast Pass for the Kilimanjaro Safari, which we did close to sunset. That was the only thing I had ever done at Animal Kingdom before and I love seeing all the animals. They’re so beautiful! As far as rides go, Animal Kingdom was one of my least favorite just because there’s not much for me. We did get about a 30 minute wait for the Na’vi River Journey while most of the crowds were at dinner. It was a cute little boat ride, but definitely not worth the 75-90 minute wait that it usually has.

We didn’t have magic bands or anything like that. I’m still so confused by those! But we did download the app, which made our experience much easier. That’s how we booked our Fast Passes, usually a day in advance. I also really appreciated how interactive and easy it was to help you navigate through the parks, and that you could see the wait times for all the rides. That was new to me since the last time I had been to Disney and it was a total game changer.
Now for our resort. I was really interested in staying on Disney property, mainly for the ease of getting to the parks. But the prices kept rising for our dates, so we ended up staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas (not to be confused with the Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort Villas only 4 miles away). We did a lot of research and this one seemed to have some of the best reviews.

Check-in was pretty easy, although a somewhat lengthy process. I didn’t appreciate the sales pitch at the concierge desk pressuring us to go to some 90-minute meeting the day we check out in exchange for $125. After that, though, everything went pretty smoothly. Our villa was incredibly spacious for what we paid. $150/night got us a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom villa with a king bed, 2 twin beds, a sofa, dining room, laundry machines, screened patio, and a full kitchen. I could kick myself for not taking any pictures!

Everything was pretty clean, although we did have quite a problem with silverfish bugs in the bathrooms throughout our entire stay. That definitely made me feel less comfortable. We did get vouchers for free breakfast for opting out of daily housekeeping, but we didn’t go back after the first day because it wasn’t very impressive.

The grounds were stunning and very well-maintained. We very much enjoyed the pools and hot tubs after long days at the parks. The location was perfect! We were within 10 minutes of a Publix to save us money on meals, and getting to the parks could not have been any easier or faster.
I am so happy we finally got to take our Disney trip that we’ve waited so long for! It will be quite a while until we go back, especially after seeing how much the entire trip was. I’d rather save the money, wait a little bit longer, and just go back to Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica! But we had a blast on our vacation and made some amazing memories. ♥

XO ♥ Christina ♥

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